Full Text: Judicial Reform in China (23)

(Xinhua)

15:04, April 17, 2013

8. Improving Community Correction System for Persons Serving Sentences and Assistance System for Persons Released from Prison

Improving law-enforcement conditions of prisons and results of education and reform. China is striving to build a just, clean, civilized and efficient prison system, realizing its reform objective of "full-sum guarantee, separation of administrative and business functions, separation of revenues and expenditures, and standardized operation" of prisons. The expenses for jail administration, criminal reformation, prisoners' cost of living, and jail facilities are all guaranteed by the government budget. Inmates are required to work in prison and get paid. Every week, they work for five days, receive classroom education for one day and rest for one day. Attempts are made to strengthen moral, cultural, and technical education to inmates and give them vocational training so as to enhance their ability to make a living after being released. Since 2008, a total of 1.26 million inmates have completed literacy and other compulsory education courses while serving their sentences, and over 5,800 people have acquired college diplomas recognized by the state. Over 30,000 skill-training courses of various kinds have so far been conducted by prisons across the country, and over 75% of inmate trainees have received related certificates, made about 14,000 technological innovations and obtained over 500 invention patents.

Carrying out community correction. In recent years, China has committed itself to reforming and improving the punishment system. It launched this effort in 2003 to introduce community correction experiments first, and then spread it across the country in 2009, putting criminals who have been under surveillance, received a suspended sentence, been released on parole or temporarily served a sentence outside prison into community correction organizations. The aim of this is to correct their crime-prone mentality and harmful behavior with the assistance of social forces and help them reintegrate into society. Community correction has been established as a legal system by China's Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law. By June 2012, a total of 1.054 million people had received community correction, and 587,000 people had been released from such correction. The recidivism rate of those undergoing community correction is around 0.2%.

Improving the system of assistance to people released from prison. The Chinese government pays great attention to helping solve difficulties encountered by people released from prison in life and employment. Those who are eligible for the minimum subsistence allowance are covered by this system. Others who face economic difficulties but ineligible for the minimum subsistence allowance are given temporary assistance. People released from prison who are starting their own businesses and enterprises providing jobs for them can enjoy tax breaks and reduction of administrative fees. According to available statistics, people who are released from prison and receive social assistance across the country increased 2.7-fold from 2008 to 2011. The recidivism rate of such people remains low.

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